Tired of the long wait between Vikings selections? Well, get ready to roll!
The Vikings have the following nine picks in the remaining four rounds of the 2012 NFL Draft:
Fourth Round: 118, 128, & 134
Fifth Round: 138 & 139
Sixth Round: 175
Seventh Round: 210, 211, & 223
That’s a pretty impressive stockpile of picks that they can use to bolster what is already regarded to be a pretty solid draft class. They have two opportunities to make back-to-back picks which is always a fun twist during the Draft.
Now, I want to take a look at each position and what we might expect the Vikings to do at each one on the last day of the Draft. Also, I’ll name a few prospects that still remain and could be potential targets.
The expanded roster limits could have the Vikings targeting a fifth arm to bring to camp. Don’t expect to see a quarterback selected real early on Saturday, by the Vikings, but maybe they’ll jump on one later on or as an undrafted free agent. Kirk Cousins will probably be the first quarterback taken on Day Three, but I would expect the Vikings to see if B.J. Coleman or Kellen Moore have any interest in coming to camp with the Vikings if they go undrafted.
I wouldn’t be totally shocked if the Vikings took a running back in the back end of this Draft, especially if a scat back type of guy like Chris Rainey is available to them in the fifth round or so. Both Robert Turbin and Lamar Miller could represent extremely good value if they are on the board when the Vikings are on the clock. Even outside of the guys mentioned, a number of attractive options exist.
If the Vikings target a tight end, which I don’t think they will, they could take a late round flier on a solid blocker with hopes of finding another Jim Kleinsasser. The name Corey Harkey is one to keep an eye on as the day goes by.
This is arguably the team’s biggest need in the remainder of this Draft. They have added to the secondary twice now, found Ponder some upgraded protection, but now it might be time to find some weapons for him, too. This is a very deep class of receivers and it might be hard to weed out any true targets at this point. At the end of the fourth and beginning of the fifth, I wouldn’t be surprised to even see the Vikings take two receivers. I’ll just list some guys in the order we have them on our Big Board and let you decide which ones might be targeted by the Vikings: Juron Criner, Marvin Jones, Chris Givens, Marvin McNutt, Nick Toon, Joe Adams, Tommy Streeter, Dwight Jones, Greg Childs, Gerell Robinson, Jeff Fuller, and Jarius Wright. Geesh, receiver scouts sure earned their money over the last nine months.
Whether or not the Vikings target another tackle will probably depend on how much they actually like DeMarcus Love. I honestly can’t tell one way or the other on Love. I can’t believe Bobby Massie is still on the board, and personally think he could be good enough to compete with Phil Loadholt for a starting gig. After Massie guys like Zebrie Sanders and Nate Potter are intriguing options.
I think the Vikings have plenty of competition and talent at guard right now. Mitchell Schwartz, Joe Berger, Charlie Johnson, and Brandon Fusco will be competing for the two starting spots. If Fusco wins one, then the Vikings could be looking for a new backup to John Sullivan at center. I wouldn’t shed one tear if the Vikings made center Philip Blake their next pick. Heck, he might be good enough to beat out Sullivan.
The Vikings could arguably use a defensive tackle of any type, but most analysts are going to agree that a big run stuffing nose type of guy is going to be their bigger need. Three names are currently available that fit that description: Alameda Ta’amu, Josh Chapman, and Nick Jean-Baptiste. Ta’Amu would be a particularly great value should he still be available when the Vikings make their next selection.
The guy to keep an eye on here is Cam Johnson. He isn’t a sack artist, but is a solid all-around player that could provide adequate competition with Reed at the bottom of the depth chart. That is really all the Vikings are likely to seek, some competition in training camp. Jaye Howard and Malik Jackson could be a couple of other of names to watch with the very latest selections.
Leslie Frazier described himself as having his “fingers crossed” that Jasper Brinkley could handle being the Vikings starting middle linebacker. I have my “fingers crossed” that they can find some adequate competition for Brinkley with one of their first few picks on Saturday. My preference would be to see either Tank Carder, James-Michael Johnson, or Audie Cole fill that need for the Vikings… in that order. Of course, in the seventh round, all eyes are going to be on the highly publicized fate of Vontaze Burfict, too. The Vikings have capable starters at outside linebacker in Chad Greenway and Erin Henderson, but they could use some of the value in these later rounds to bolster depth and special teams play. Ronnell Lewis and Keenan Robinson will get the most attention Saturday, and deservedly so, but the guy I am most curious to see as in a pro uniform is Travis Lewis. The Sooner went from a sure-fire first round prospect to a late round choice after injuries and character traits became an issue. Unlike Burfict, however, I think Lewis can turn things around and be a Pro Bowl talent.
Things are getting awfully crowded at the cornerback position these days. Still, watch for the Vikings to take fliers on Josh Norman or Shaun Prater if the right opportunity presents itself.
I don’t think the Vikings are done selecting safeties. They would love to see someone de-throne Jamarca Sanford as the starting strong safety, and I think Antonio Allen is the one guy remaining that might just be able to do that as a rookie. Markelle Martin or George Iloka could present some very good competition for Harrison Smith at free safety, as well.
To me, there is only one kicker worth drafting this year and I am flat out predicting that the Vikings will do it. Watch for Greg Zuerlin to come into camp with as a Viking with his sights set on Ryan Longwell’s job.